Trees on your property – pruning or removing
Council is currently experiencing a large increase in the volume of tree applications and as a result there are delays in the processing of permits. Council staff are utilising all available resources to reduce these delays, however, please expect a 6-8 week turnaround time for all tree applications.
If you believe that your tree situation is urgent (due to imminent tree risk), we advise you contact a consulting arborist qualified in an industry recognised tree risk methodology to assess your tree.
Trees located on private land generally require Council consent to prune or remove. Council's Tree Management Development Control Plan (DCP) (PDF 662.4KB) sets out the controls relating to what work requires consent.
You can apply to prune or remove a tree in two ways:
- Tree permit application
- Development application
Tree permit application
A tree works permit is required for most trees unless it is one of the exempt activities:
- Canopy lifting to 2.5 metres above ground level
- The pruning of deadwood. The deadwood must not have hollows or provide habitat for native fauna
To apply for a permit:
- Complete the tree works application form (PDF 246.5KB)
- Collect any supporting documentation to assist with your application such as arborist report, plumber's report etc. (this is not mandatory)
- Lodge the application form in our online portal.
Please note that a signature from all owners is required on the form, otherwise you application will be refused.
Submit tree permit application
Lodging a tree permit application requires a fee to paid. Refer to Council's fees and charges.
Once your application is received, a Council officer will contact you to arrange a site inspection (if required). Applications with complete documentation will generally be finalised within 28 days. If Council requests additional information within this period the count will stop and only continue once this information has been provided.
Development consent is to be required for works to trees in the following circumstances:
- Removal of trees is identified on the Inner West Council heritage trees list (PDF 146.8KB).
- The tree forms part of an Aboriginal object or is located within an Aboriginal place of heritage significance
- The tree is located within a Heritage Conservation Area or is a Heritage Item where the works are determined to have an adverse impact.
Visit the development applications page to find out how to make a development application.
Lodging a development application requires a fee to paid. Refer to Council's fees and charges.
Development fact sheets
The fact sheets below are provided to guide application when engaging technical experts such as arborists, engineers and plumbers to provide reports that may be required to support your application. Please ensure that the consultant you engage is aware of these report requirements prior to engaging them. Reports submitted to Council that do not meet these minimum requirements may be rejected by Council.
Contact an arborist
Council does not undertake the pruning or removal of trees on private property. This work is best undertaken by a qualified arborist. It is important to hire appropriately qualified people to carry out tree works.
Before employing an arborist, check that they are insured and carry Australian Qualifying Framework (AQF) certification.
Consulting arborists (Consultant)
Consulting arborists have the training and experience to provide expert assessments on the health and condition of trees.
If you need specialist advice concerning your tree/s or require an arborist report, as per Council’s conditions, you will need to engage a consulting arborist with AQF Level 5 or equivalent in horticulture (arboriculture). Council's minimum requirements for the different types of arborist reports are provided in the fact sheets above.
For more details on consulting arborists please contact the following associations:
Institute of Australian Consulting Arboriculturalists
Working arborist (trade)
Working or practicing arborists are trade qualified to care for trees, and are generally engaged to provide pruning and/or removal works.
Once you have obtained permission to undertake tree works, look for an arborist who has AQF Level 3 qualification or equivalent in Horticulture (Arboriculture). This ensures that the work is done in accordance with the Australian Standards.
An arborist who has a minimum AQF Level 4 qualification should be engaged to assess root pruning requirements.
For more details on working arborists please contact the following associations:
Tree Contractors Association Australia
Safe Work NSW
Still have a tree question?
See the FAQs or lodge an enquiry using Council's online customer request management system.
Lodge an enquiry